Pioneering TV Fitness Expert Dies

Dec 19, 2011  •  Post A Comment

A pioneering TV fitness expert who sounded the alarm about flabby children back in the 1950s has died, The New York Times reports.

Bonnie Prudden, who was one of the earliest fitness instructors on television and who blamed children’s flabbiness on TV, was 97, the story reports. She died at home in Tucson, Ariz.

Prudden was an author of a 1955 report to President Dwight D. Eisenhower that said more than half of U.S. children had failed at least one measure of fitness, while only 8% of European children had failed one test, the story says.

Her report led to the formation of the President’s Council on Youth Fitness, now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Prudden blamed the poor test results on television, saying TV kept kids sitting around rather than engaged in chores or walking to school, the piece notes.

She was one of the first exercise instructors on TV, appearing on "Today" in the 1950s and creating her own syndicated show in the 1960s, the story adds. She also wrote 15 books and recorded several records.


Bonnie Prudden on Sports Illustrated in 1957

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